Of the myriad of things wrong with the MTA, the chance you might board the subway and run into someone you know is probably the worst that could happen. Because an unplanned meeting requires spontaneous conversation. As the uncreative human race has yet to invent an improvement on small talk, this is the wrist slitting ennui that materializes before you, disguised as the face of an acquaintance.
I hate small talk. With a name that suggests such insignificance, you’d think evolution would have taken care of it long ago. Yes, I know it’s hot out, Tuesday sometimes feels like Wednesday, you’re still hoping a trust fund will kick in someday. And so am I. Because you’ll stop having to ride the train every morning and I can ride to work pleasantly ignored.
I suppose before the advent of readily available printed material, portable music etc, small talk served its purpose. You could catch up on gossip. Confirm that it was hotter than Hades. Learn how that bitch who stole your man up in Salem was finally getting the stake treatment she deserved.
But as the in-ear earbuds plugged into the mini computer/phone/iPod might suggest, society has advanced. And the best revenge you can take on a woman is starting some rumors about her plastic surgery.
Here’s a tip: There’s a reason I stuffed Don Quixote into my bag. Because you’re more boring than a thousand page translation of a 15th century novel. And you don’t come with cliff’s notes.
Once I ran into my art director on the subway. This was a problem because we already saw each other daily. He informed me that last night the girl I’d left him with at the bar had defeated his interest in her, by revealing her employment at an S&M club. Her specialty? “Cock and ball torture.” It was good to see him.